B i o g r a p h y
Catherine is a postgraduate vocal student at the Royal College of Music, taught by Rosa Mannion and generously supported by the Kathleen Trust, Olgarhythm, and the Mario Lanza Educational Foundation. Catherine has been singing from a young age, giving her first concerts from the kitchen table as a child. During her undergraduate degree at the University of St Andrews, Catherine was heavily involved in the musical life of the university and town, and graduated with the Cedric Thorpe-Davie Prize for contributions to music. She sang four times with Byre Opera in St Andrews, most notably as the title role in Handel's Xerxes, Vixen Sharp-Ears in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, and Miss Jessel in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw. Catherine founded and led the University of St Andrews Opera Society, with whom she sang Belinda (Dido and Aeneas), Juno (Orpheus in the Underworld) and Lieschen (Coffee Cantata). Since the outset, she helped the society to bring opera into unexpected places, performing in a club, bars, and a coffee shop.
Catherine has sung widely in concert, making her professional concert debut in 2016 as Judit in Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle with the Edinburgh Symphony Orchestra. In 2018, she premiered Emily Doolittle's 'Conversation' for soprano and chamber orchestra, funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and later toured this work to Orkney with the St Andrews New Music Ensemble. Catherine has performed with Dame Emma Kirkby and Dowland Works in the St Andrews Voices Festival, worked with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra as a soloist in a concert of Jeremy Thurlow’s music, and has performed as a soloist for a number of major works, including Fauré's Requiem, Handel's Messiah, St John Passion (Bach), Mass in D Minor (Dvořák), and Rejoice in the Lamb (Britten). She has also sung recitals in St Andrews, Cambridge, and the Edinburgh International Festival.
As well as a confident soloist, Catherine is an experienced choral singer, after four years as a choral scholar with St Salvator's Chapel Choir in St Andrews, and Senior Chorister in her final year, and another year as a choral scholar at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. She was a regular soloist with both choirs, including on international tours and recordings, and can be heard on St Salvator's recent album, Luthersche Leidensmusik, singing the first movement of Bruhns’ Hemmt eure Tränenflut. She has been a longterm member of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain and the National Youth Chamber Choir, and has performed in numerous high-profile concerts with both groups, such as the BBC Proms.
Catherine has worked with a range of teachers and conductors. She has received instruction and masterclasses from, among others, Julie Kennard, Bertie Rice, Patricia MacMahon, Kevin Thraves, John Graham-Hall, Brian Bannatyne-Scott, Marie McLaughlin, Jonathan May and Anthony Roden. She has undertaken choral work with Sir James MacMillan, Robert Hollingworth, Stephen Cleobury, Stephen Layton, Ben Parry, Paul Mealor, Morten Lauridsen, and many others. She holds a first class degree from the University of St Andrews and an MPhil from the University of Cambridge.
"Leading the way was Catherine Hooper in the title role. The opera's most famous aria, largely known as Handel's Largo, opens the opera, but she had far more complicated arias to get round, peaking in the last act with an aria of fire and fury straight out of the top drawer."
Xerxes (Handel), Byre Opera
"Hooper undeniably dominated the “stage” both with her confident arias and with the barely noticeable mannerisms she attributed to Liesgen. This aspect was certainly a highlight of Coffee Cantata, as many of her shrugs, eye-rolls and gazes in the distance would have been lost in a wider theatrical space."
Coffee Cantata (Bach), University of St Andrews Opera Society
The Saint (April 2018)
"The real treats came from the newcomers, with some impressive young singers, led by a sweet, fresh-voiced Vixen from Catherine Hooper."
Vixen Sharp-Ears in The Cunning Little
The Cunning Little Vixen (Janáček), Byre Opera
Seen and Heard International (June 2017)
"Catherine Hooper, is still an undergraduate at St Andrews, and gave a performance of astonishing maturity, tackling the role's difficult, exposed lines with ease."
Judit in Duke Bluebeard's Castle (Bartók), in concert with Edinburgh Symphony Orchestra
"[...] a hugely impressive piece of work for such a young group of performers. [...] Chris Huggon as Quint and Catherine Hooper as Miss Jessel, darkly attired, caught the attention. [...] Caroline Taylor, Catherine Hooper and Rebecca Anderson gave beautifully sung and strongly characterised performances."
Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw (Britten), Byre Opera